How do I become a grief counselor?

How do I become a grief counselor?

How do I become a grief counselor?

grief-counselor-salary

Working as a grief counselor is one that has been created for specific psychological needs for those experiencing loss. It has been found that there are many that move through a crisis or loss without receiving the necessary support or guidance to move through the grieving process. A counselor is trained to look at the psychological implications of loss and to allow those that are in a specific situation to move quickly through the grief, shock and loss that may occur.

There are specific institutions and clinics that are now requiring grief counselors for assistance with patients or those in need. It is expected that the job will grow up by 37% within a 10 year period, which is faster than almost any other field of counseling. Hospitals and clinics are one of the institutions that require assistance, specifically which is specified as a medical social worker. There are also other facilities, such as schools and jails, that are asking for assistance to those experiencing loss. This allows individuals to receive support necessary for the psychological changes that occur during the grieving process. For jails, schools and hospitals, it is becoming a valued service, specifically because of the mental health implications that occur as a result of loss.

The daily job functions with a grief counselor begin with short term therapy sessions. If someone is experiencing loss or a crisis, then the emotional and mental support to move through the grief is available. Insights on the psychological implications and an understanding of mental health is also a part of the job description. It is expected that those working within this field are able to offer empathy and compassion to those that are grieving. The short term therapy sessions are specified because it only focuses on a new loss, grieving process or shock that has recently occurred so one may move through the difficult phases.

You may also be required to work with group therapy sessions and support groups, specifically to assist those in grief. This requires leadership to guide those that are grieving while allowing the group to develop a dynamic of moving through the process together. Chaplains may also require extra support and insight for the psychological needs of grief, loss and crisis. There are many counselors who also add in extra credentials with spiritual and religious implications to offer this support. Many of the hospitals have extended the job description into community outreach programs and awareness of the psychological situations, specifically to assist in the grieving process that many go through.

Grief Counselor Educational Requirements

Grief Counselor Educational Requirements

While becoming a grief counselor is growing exponentially, the education and specific job titles vary. Many of the job descriptions focus on grief as well as other mental health fields for experienced workers. Those who desire to specialize in this field can receive a Masters in Mental Health to become more competitive for positions available. Licensed mental health professionals with a Bachelors may also be considered; however, there will need to be specialization in fields such as marriage and family, social work, psychology or mental health as well as experience in working with others through a grieving process.

If one decides to move into the field with a Bachelors or Masters, then it is also important to continue with the education through experience within the field. Individuals will need to have a minimum of 2 years experience that is supervised through another counselor as post – graduate work. This offers preparation for the career field and also allows one to find a specialized niche with the opportunities of working as a grief counselor.

It has also been noted that nurses, chaplains and those that are in hospital environments can receive support in grief counseling. There are accredited certifications that allow one to become a guide at work through extra education. The Association for Death Education and Counseling as well as the American Institute of Health Care Professionals both offer accredited certifications that are specifically for grief counseling. These certifications take an average of four weeks to complete and compliment the education you have received so you can work specifically as a grief counselor. Many of the certifications are also available online, allowing you to work at your own pace while using the extra certifications as a highlight for the job you are interested in moving into.

To add in credibility while looking for a job, you may also want to consider other continuing education opportunities. There are certifications and experiences that one can tap into that offers a well – rounded resume. Nursing, spirituality or a specialization in a complimentary field, such as social work,offers more promise for those interested in becoming a grief counselor at any hospital or clinic. By adding in these credentials, it will offer more job opportunities and a higher salary to the available areas of work.

Grief Counselor Salary Information

Grief Counselor Salary Information

The difference in salary is from experience, education and the state requirements for a grief counselor. For a general counselor, the average amount earned is $37,000. This requires a Bachelors or Masters in a mental health field as well as 2 – 4 years of experience. The individual working at this range would offer hospitals and clinics with guidance and support for groups as a counselor. A hospice counselor has a slightly larger salary, earning an average of $60,000 per year. The difference is based on the expectations for leadership, community outreach and group support as a grief counselor.

Another possibility for the career field is a grief counseling director. The median range for counselors that act as directors is at $55,386 per year. The lowest amount that may be earned is $42,621 and those that have more education and experience while working in specific states may earn up to $68,228 per year. The directors offer guidance and counseling to different hospitals and clinics. They also coordinate and work with other counselors to provide more services. Some may work at hospitals to guide and lead the psychological needs of different patients to ensure that all needs are met.

The salary and career also varies with nurses that also act as counselors, spiritual grief counselors and individuals that specialize in a specific field. The median salary for specialized counseling is at $47,000. While much of the job description remains the same, there are also other outreach programs that will cross into what is expected of those with this career field. Many of the hospitals, clinics and other institutions require specialist fields, specifically because of the demands within the institutions.

There are many that work in the field that also decide to work within their own clinic, specializing in other hospitals and clinics coming to them for counseling sessions and support programs. This particular career path also offers a median range of $50 – $60,000 per year. The difference in this choice comes from the ability to work out of a private office and move into contractual agreements with individuals or institutions. One will need to invest in advertising and business connections to establish this. However, there is also the need to grow with a private clinic to a larger majority of clients while branching into specialized support groups or products.